Google has come to the defence of mobile users with a new algorithm update coming into play on November 1st that will penalise intrusive app interstitials. The Mountain View company stated on their Webmaster tools blog:
“After November 1, mobile web pages that show an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page will no longer be considered mobile-friendly.”
The statement comes after research found that a mere 9% of users clicked the annoying “Get App” button with a staggering 69% of users leaving the site without visiting the app store.
What’s an Interstitial?
An interstitial is a full page ad that covers the mobile interface, prompting the user to make a choice whether to download the app after clicking a search result. The idea is to get more people to download apps rather than use mobile sites, however in practice they are annoying and incredibly intrusive during the mobile experience.
A shift towards a more friendly user experience has long been a focus point of recent Google updates so it should not come as a surprise that Google are now penalising content hiding ads. The suggestion is a move towards banner ads, and as always, when Google make suggestions it’s wise to listen.
As with any mobile focused Google update, our app developers at The Distance have looked into the issue to understand the implications for clients and mobile users.
How can my site be more mobile friendly?
As app developers, we understand the desire of our clients to promote their apps through mobile sites, so following the advice of Google we suggest you carry out a mobile friendly test to see if the update will effect your site. If so, a switch to native Apple supported Smart App banners and Google-Chrome supported app install banners should be implemented as soon as possible.
Whilst these native solutions are the most natural way to provide interstitials, they do not cover the full range of use cases. For example, Smart App banners only work on Safari and only link to App Store listed Apps whereas App Install banners only work on Chrome and link to Play store listed Apps. See the table below.
|iOS + Safari
|iOS + Chrome
|Android + Chrome
|Windows + IE
|Smart App Banner
|App Install Banner
The Distance will soon be rolling our own solution which fixes this problem and the issue of having to display multiple App Store buttons on your website for your App. Watch this space!